The Great Pyrenees, also known as the Le Grande Chien des Montagnes, the Le Chien des Pyrenees, the Chien de Montaigne des Pyrenees, the Great Dog of the Mountains, the Pyrenean Mountain Dog, the Patou (meaning “shepherd”), the Pyrenean Wolfdog, the Pyrenean Bearhound, the Pyrenean Hound, the Pyrenees or simply the “Pyr,” has one of the oldest and most colorful histories of any canine breed. It has served peasant shepherds on remote mountain slopes, providing companionship and guarding flocks from thieves and other predators. It has been revered by French royalty and prized by poor fishermen. A giant dog, the Great Pyrenees takes 3 to 4 years to reach full maturity. An unusual feature of this breed is the presence of double dewclaws on its hind legs, which are required under the American breed standard. The Pyrenees was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1933, as a member of its Working Group.
Adult male Pyrenees should stand from 27 to 32 inches at the withers, with bitches standing between 25 and 29 inches in height. A 27 inch dog should weigh about 100 pounds, and a 25 inch bitch should weigh about 85 pounds. Described as an “animated snowdrift,” the Great Pyrenees should look like a brown bear, except for the white color and down ears. Its double coat has a long, flat, thick outer layer over a dense, fine, wooly undercoat, providing protection in even the harshest conditions. Acceptable colors are pure white or white with subtle markings of gray, badger, reddish brown or shades of tan. Regular grooming is essential to maintain the glamorous coat of this gigantic breed. The Great Pyrenees does not do well in especially hot, humid climates.